Billy Baldwin’s blue salon in villa La Fiorentina looks so fresh it is hard to believe it was done in the 1970’s. The navy, blue and white geometric needlepoint rug that Baldwin made in France (see image 1) would be considered the height of fashion if it were available today.
In image 10 the navy, blue and white floral needlepoint rug under a yellow and chrome mid century modern dining table is nearly identical to a custom rug we delivered a few weeks ago to one of Boston’s most fashionable interior designers.
I like the fact that it is hard to tell which of the 10 celebrity interiors in todays post were done forty years ago and which were done this year. Is’nt this what great interior design and fine needlepoint rugs are supposed to do?
1. A French navy blue and white geometric needlepoint rug brings pattern to the blue salon of La Fiorentina a villa at the extreme end of the Saint Hospice point of the Saint Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula as decorated by the legendary Billy Baldwin in the 1970’s for client Mary Wells Lawrence who was one of the most powerful advertising figures of the time. Image courtesy Habitually Chic® Blog.
1A. Another view of the blue salon in La Fiorentina in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. Billy Baldwin explained his design approach to this room: “Clear, fresh blue covers the upholstered sofas and chairs, a deeper blue checkerboards with white on the French woven rugs, and every blue imaginable mingles in the Indian handkerchief pillows. All over the room are masses of blue and white Chinese porcelains. The big lacquered coffee table was designed, as was much of the furniture spotted here and there, by Charles Sevigny.” The antique French ormolu table is just visible behind the sofa on the right. Architectural Digest image. Billy Baldwin quote courtesy the Habitually Chic® Blog.
2. In the Paris apartment of the late Walter Lees a blue and white geometric rug designed by William McCaety pulls together white banquettes, tables and stools by Diego Giacometti, Russian, Indian, Chinese and Louis XVI objects. Image courtesy thepeakofchic.blog.
Hubert de Givenchy wrote in Christie’s catalog for the Walter Lees estate sale: “Walter, who was such a dear and special friend, had perfect taste – sober, simple, elegant and refined.The two apartments that I knew so well, both in Paris and London, reflected his style perfectly. His favourite colours – pale grey, off-white, and a clear dark blue predominated.
“Walter always chose to dress in fresh colours such as pink, sky blue and often white in summer, he was always elegant and the essence of chic. His taste in objects was eclectic. He loved beautiful things, but above all, he loved quality”.
Lees had a long and fascinating life starting with WWII where he was awarded the Military Cross for the great battles of El Alamein and El Akarpwia. He survived capture, escape and recapture by the Germans. After the war he served the British Government in Palestine, Cairo and then in India on the staff of Lord Mountbatten. Then Lees came to Paris as an attaché in the British Embassy and stayed there for 50 years. Lees left the embassy to work for the great shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos and then for Actor Yul Brynner through whom he met fashion and movie set designer Hubert de Givenchy. Lees led a glittering social life in Paris and his friends included Sir Duff and Lady Diana Cooper, Dame Margot Fonteyn, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Alberto Giacometti, Edith Piaf and Josephine Baker.
3. A blue and white floral needlepoint rug adds freshness and light to this living room by New York interior designer Charlotte Moss. The purple-blue and white Chinoiserie wall covering creates a feeling of intimacy while the same blue and white floral fabric on sofa, ottoman and drapes creates a feeling of calm. Image courtesy Pinterest Designer Interiors.
4. Alex Papachristidis designed this geometric rug in dark and medium blues and apple green to pull together the many shades of vibrant and medium blues and greens on the wall, drapes, French chair and bed in his stunningly updated New York apartment featured on the cover of November 2012 Elle Decor. Image courtesy Elle Decor.
5. A blue and cream rug with a pattern of swirling cloud like leaves provides a luminous backdrop for a romantic art filled sitting room by Madeleine Castaing who revolutionized the world of decoration- her look became known as the style Castaing and counted among her friends Erik Satie, Jean Cocteau, Marc Chagall, Picasso and Henry Miller. Image courtesy Pinterest Interiors: Iconic & Celebrity
6. Carolyne Roehm is famous for blue and white everything. In this living room she unifies several strong blue and white patterns with a bold geometric blue and white rug. The angular pattern of the rug complements the rounded ikat motifs of the sofa and chair fabrics and the curved shapes of the white Chinoiserie chairs. The dark brown wood floor adds warmth and also provides contrast to the blue and white rug. The white walls are a calming backdrop for the many strong patterns. Apple green walls visible in the adjoining room create a pleasing layering effect. Image courtesy Pinterest Living Rooms.
7. Lisa Torbett Interiors chose Asmara’s blue and white Bergamo needlepoint rug to pick up the sky and sea views from the domed French windows of a Sea Island, Georgia living room. Blue piping on the white sofas tie them to the blues in the needlepoint rug and butter cup yellow pillows create pop and add warmth. The dark blues in the needlepoint rug stand up to the navy wall tapestry. Image courtesy Lisa Torbett Interiors.
8. Southern California interior designer Eric Guenther pulls together seven different fabric patterns in navy, blue and white and his collection of blue and white porcelain with a geometric blue and white Asmara Ascot needlepoint rug. White limestone floors and weathered white walls meld with the cream background of the needlepoint rug to give the bedroom a feeling of expansive space. Image © Asmara, Inc.
9. Celebrity interior designer Lorenzo Castillo’s Madrid studio is anchored by a blue and white geometric needlepoint rug modeled on a vintage pattern. The ogival motifs of the needlepoint rug balance the check pattern on the coffee table and stripes on the sofa and day bed fabrics. The brown and golds in the tortoiseshell coffee table and Chinese cabinet add warmth. Image courtesy Pinterest living.
10. A floral needlepoint rug in navy, blue and white adds pattern, texture and layering to the mid century modern yellow and chrome dining table and folding chairs featured in House and Garden Magazine. Image courtesy the thepeakofchicblog.